Praying for others

As my last post shows, I don’t think we’re here on earth to be rich or “successful” or famous or even just productive. I think we should be good at whatever we do. And that may lead to success or fame or wealth, or it may lead to another load of laundry and wiping something up off the floor that we shouldn’t look at too closely.

I have always said and am more and more convinced that we are here to be sanctified and then go to heaven. To participate in that sanctification process we should be reading and applying the Word, examining our lives and challenging our beliefs and our actions, and in prayer. Are you content or do things throw you for a tizzy when they don’t go as planned? Work on that. It may take you years, so get started now. (I mention this one because it is still a challenge for me.)

That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun or shouldn’t pursue advances at work or other ways to improve ourselves, like giving speeches or other skills. It just means we are always aware that we are working on our sanctification. If some group of friends or some activity exposes us to something we shouldn’t be doing or be seeing, get away and stay away. If interruptions of some activity are irritating you, pray about that and remember all interruptions come from God. Do you really believe God is sovereign, even over the interruptions? (Big area of work for me here.)

The beauty of spending time here now, is if life ever goes sideways with some major crisis, you’ll have practice at reacting correctly and you’ll be more mature than you were. Since life went sideways for me, I find my desire for things has gone away (what’s the point) but my desire for knowing God has gone up. If it’s that important “at the end” doesn’t that mean it’s important all along?

I started this post to talk about how my prayers for others are changing. Typically someone wants us to pray that their problem would go away, the doctor would figure out and fix the issue, and all would get back to a comfortable lifestyle right away. But I know too much now to be satisfied with those prayers. If I know the person is only lukewarm in their faith, I have to ask that God use this little crisis to reach them and let it last as long as it needs and get as bad as it has to get in order to grab their attention and point out how much they need God.

Someone said to me the other day “God never gives us more than we can handle” and I cannot figure out where it comes from. Some people confuse it with the verse that for any temptation God will provide a way out. Which is NOT saying the same thing. God will always give you more than can handle, so you can figure out that you can’t handle it and that you need Him, desperately. Many of these times when people ask for prayer they are the “fix this for me” kinds of prayer. They pray like they are asking for candy from a vending machine. They don’t really care what the deeper meaning and outcome could be, what God is trying to bring to their attention through the trial, they just want the fear and discomfort to go away, now.

I do want to pray for you. I want to pray for your sanctification, your personal love of and belief in God, and your eternal salvation. I’ll also pray that the doctor solve your problem, or your car get fixed, or your kid stop rebelling. But I may throw in a line about God doing it in His time and accomplish His goals with this struggle or crisis. Because I love you and have your deep interests at heart.

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